In fiscal year 2022, Congress appropriated funding for a new Congressionally-directed spending program that included funding for over 490 community grants. These grants would fund infrastructure projects in local communities to address drinking water, wastewater, stormwater infrastructure, and water quality protection needs, providing significant benefit to communities and the environment. To implement this grant program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would need to ensure that each project was in compliance with applicable federal environmental review requirements, including National Environmental Policy Act requirements. Due to the large number of projects, this presented a substantial challenge.
ERG developed and implemented a streamlined yet thorough process to assess the environmental review requirements for each project. For projects needing NEPA review, ERG evaluated the environmental impacts of the grant action. For many projects, ERG also supported consultations pursuant to other environmental laws and regulations. In addition, ERG helped EPA develop program materials, provide technical assistance, and deliver training to support EPA Regions in managing and evaluating projects in pre- and post-award grant phases.